Established in 2008, the RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS Centre) was the pioneer institute in the Asia-Pacific region specialising in the study of NTS. Originally a research programme, the Centre was formed in response to growing and deep interest in non-traditional security (NTS) issues affecting the region. It conducts empirically-grounded research to produce policy-relevant analyses aimed at furthering awareness and building capacity to address NTS issues and challenges in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. Below are some key milestones in the Centre’s history:
2013 (Developments in Food Security Research Programme)
The Centre has been selected by the Singapore Government to lead a two-year research project on the region’s food security as it becomes increasingly affected by medium- and long-term factors such as climate change, energy and water constraints, and regional economic integration. Specifically, the project will explore the impact of climate change on food security in the region, the potential impact of the changing regional environment on dynamic food stocks, and develop a dynamic model of food availability for Singapore.
This is a development of the Centre’s research in 2010-12 that focused on the complexity of food insecurity and its cross-sectoral issues that mapped the interdependencies in food security with an approach that centred on the four pillars of food security – food availability, physical access, economic access and utilisation.
2012 (IDRC ASEAN-Canada Research Partnership)
The Centre was chosen by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada, to manage the 2012-15 ASEAN-Canada Research Partnership project. This initiative is a response to growing interest within the Canadian and Southeast Asian research communities to jointly examine ASEAN’s role and impacts, and exchange experiences in order to explore development opportunities and address social, economic and environmental problems.
Planned activities in this three-year initiative comprise research fellowships and dissemination meetings; involving Southeast Asian and Canadian academic institutions, think tanks and NGOs, while establishing linkages with the ASEAN secretariat, government officials, civil society groups, multilateral agencies and other stakeholders.
2009 (MacArthur Asia Security Initiative and Expansion of NTS-Asia Consortium Network)
In 2009, the RSIS Centre for NTS Studies was selected as one of three core institutions to lead the MacArthur Asia Security Initiative* as NTS issues became more salient in the region. The Centre was chosen to lead seven institutions in the Internal Challenges cluster. This boosted the Centre’s then research programmes of Climate Change, Environmental Security and Natural Disaster Programme, and Energy and Human Security. It also led to the creation of a fourth programme – the Internal and Cross-Border Conflict Programme. The Pandemics Programme was also renamed the Health and Human Security Programme at this point.
2009 also witnessed the expansion of the Consortium of NTS-Asia following keen interest and increased awareness of NTS issues in the Asia-Pacific region. From 14 members in 2007, the Consortium currently comprises 20 members.
*The MacArthur Asia Security Initiative was launched by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in January 2009, through which approximately US$68 million in grants were made to policy research institutions over 7 years to help raise the effectiveness of international cooperation in preventing conflict and promoting peace and security in Asia.
2008 (Official Launch of the RSIS Centre for NTS Studies)
The RSIS Centre for NTS Studies was officially launched on 6 May 2008 at the Traders Hotel, Singapore.
The upgrading of the RSIS-NTS programme to a Centre marked yet another milestone for the study of NTS in RSIS. The RSIS Centre for NTS Studies launched three major programmes of critical concern to the region: Pandemics, Climate Change, and Energy and Security. These research programmes involved developing research findings into actionable policy recommendations and proposing policy initiatives to address the range of NTS problems facing the Asia-Pacific region.
Dr Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary General of ASEAN, delivered the keynote address at the Centre’s launch. Also invited to grace the occasion was Singapore’s Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, who delivered the opening remarks and officially launched the Centre. The official launch was followed by an inaugural lecture delivered by Prof. Alan Dupont, Director of the Centre for International Strategic Studies, University of Sydney.
Welcome Address by Amb. Barry Desker, Dean, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
Opening Address by Guest-of-Honour Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Singapore
Keynote Address by Dr Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General, ASEAN
1999 – April 2008 (NTS Programme and Consortium of NTS-Asia)
From 1999 to April 2008, RSIS successfully conducted and managed a programme on non-traditional security (NTS). The programme aimed to increase awareness of a range of NTS challenges that threaten the well-being and security of states and societies in Asia, and the need to develop regional institutional capabilities to respond to these challenges. Its key projects combined conceptual innovation, empirical research, and policy-relevant analysis and findings.
With the growing interest on NTS issues in the region, the Consortium of Non-Traditional Security Studies in Asia (NTS-Asia) was established in January 2007; bringing together 14 research institutes and think-tanks from Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia and South Asia. The Consortium, led by RSIS, aims to further develop the process of networking and consolidate existing research on NTS-related issues, as well as to mainstream and push ahead the field of non-traditional security in Asia. The Secretariat was later based in the RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies when the Centre was established in 2008.
Last updated on 23/06/2023